Monday, January 28, 2013

Hymnal Q&A (in nearly alphabetical order)

Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?
Yes.  But I plan on getting to bed earlier this week.

Are You Washed in the Blood?
Yes!  Metaphorically.

Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed?
 Alas, He did.

Brother, Is Your Face Toward the Canaan of Rest?
Yes.  Wait, no?  Um...what?

Can Jesus See and Hear?

Can Others See Jesus In You?
I hope so.

Hast Thou, O Lord, A Work To Do?
Oh yeah He does.

How Can I Look on Calvary's Cross?
Time machine?

In The Fight, Say, Does Your Heart Grow Weary?
Say, sometimes it kinda does!

Is It Not Wonderful?
No, it is not not wonderful.  I think.

Is It There?

Is There Ambition In My Heart?
You're asking me?

Is This the Kind Return?
Depends.  Was it properly rewound?

Is There Any Room for Jesus?
Fortunately, we just had a guest over, so He can sleep on the couch!

Is Your Life a Channel of Blessing?

Knocking, Knocking, Who Is There?
I feel like there should be a way to make this into a knock-knock joke...

O How Shall I Keep My Christmas?
All through the year.

O Lord, Our Father, Shall We Be Confounded?
I realize you're not asking me, but I'm a tad confounded at the question.

O What Are the Pleasures That Silver Can Buy?
Dogs.  Houses.  Food.  Hockey tickets.  DVDs.  Swimsuits.  Ponies.  A Zamboni...

O Where Are the Reapers?
Hanging out by the dumpster behind the theater, oddly enough.

O Why Not Tonight?
Eh, it's kinda late.

Oh What Are You Going To Do?
Finish up this blog, brush teeth, go to bed.

O! What, if we are Christ's?

Saw You Never, in the Twilight?
Nope. Not a single one of 'em.  Didn't read the books, either.

Shall We Meet?

Shall Wisdom Cry Aloud?

Shall You?  Shall I?

Was There Ever a Friend So True?

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
No.  Well, sort of.  Depends on how you look at it.

What Are These That Glow From Afar?

What, Never Thirst Again?
Sounds good to me!

What Must I Do?
Sell all your possessions and give them to the poor.

What Is the Song the Angels Sing?
I dunno, Butterfly Kisses?

What Can Wash Away My Sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

What Shall I Do To Be Saved?
Give your life to Jesus.

What This Host?

What Wilt Thou Have Me Do?
I'd take a nice shoulder rub pretty much any day.

When Shall Thy Lovely Face Be Seen?
Hm...guessing this one's not actually addressed to me.

When Wilt Thou Save the People?
Wait, this is in a hymnal?  I honestly thought it was from Godspell.

Where is the Holy Heav'n Born Child?
He grew up.

Where Shall My Soul Begin to Sing?
Where you are now is good.

Where Will You Spend Eternity?

Would You Be Free From the Burden of Sin?
Yes.  (See above)

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Round and round we go...

1. Master of the House from Les Miserables

Funny one to start off with, as Kim and I just saw this film, finally, last night.  Would be natural for me to write my review of that film here, but I'm not going to do that.  I'm going to write about how I think Les Mis may be the only musical I have on my iTunes.  I own a lot of cast recording CD's, trust me.  And most of them were on my iTunes on the old computer.  (I say most because people would give me cast recordings of shows I never heard of, and I rarely liked them.  To be fair, maybe I didn't give The Baker's Wife enough of a chance, but if I didn't know the show it would have to be a really great recording to get me into it.  Hello, Urinetown)  However, a couple of years ago, when the old compy went kaput for good, it took everything with it, and I've been slowly rebuilding my music collection on the lappy over the past few years.  Part of the reason is that I ripped pretty much ALL my music to the last machine, and as I've been going back through my CDs to restock my collection, I've realized that I don't really care for quite a bit of the music I own.  I think that, for the most part, there's at least one song I like on every CD I own.  But some CDs I bought (hello high school!) just for one song.  Also, some CDs I bought (hello majority of my Christian punk collection!) that I just don't think is very good anymore.

Though at the time I really, really, really felt that guy's pain, when he sang about that one girl who didn't know he was alive, even though he really truly loved him.  All six thousand times someone wrote that song...(Note: this is not to make fun of unrequited love, because yes, that sucks.  I do know that, too.  This is making fun of the lack of originality in Christian punk music, and likely punk music in general)

Anyway, I started this to reminisce about how I used to be HUGE into musicals, and for a while cast recordings were the only things I listened to. And now I don't think I've listened to one for a long time.

I should do a Top 7 to commemorate my favorite cast recordings.  Or at least the ones I'm still most likely to sing along with if I should happen to put them on.  (I should also do my Top 7 Least Favorite Songs in Musical Theatre.  That would be fun)

As long as I'm in the car alone.  Or with my wife.  I don't think I'd sing musicals to anybody else anymore.

Also, I still do love musicals.  I just don't listen to them too often anymore.

Okay, gotta move on.

2. Watusi by Silage

Speaking of music that's not nearly as good as it was when I was in high school... 

These guys were just weird.  And random.  And I mistook that for brilliance.  Ah well.  Some of the bass lines and the rhythms are pretty catchy.

I was also pretty weird and random at this stage in my life.  Seriously, all you people who didn't know me in middle school/early high school years.  You think I'm strange/random now?  You know nothing about Option C: Chicken Nuggets.

(Do you even read this blog anymore?)

Anyway, my favorite band of this time period (and, I suppose, to this day) was Five Iron Frenzy.  They were in turns bizarre/crazy/goofy, wild/energetic, and poignant/profound/challenging.  Which kind of describes the man I've become since I was just weird/random.  And I often wonder if I liked FIF because I was developing into a balance of goofy and profound, or if I developed into this combination because I listened to so much FIF.  (I know, you don't really get the profound on this blog, mostly the goofy, but trust me, it's in there, as my closest friends will almost unanimously attest)

Sort of a spin on the nature vs. nurture argument, I guess.

And yeah, I just used the spot on my shuffleblog inspired by a Silage song to talk about Five Iron instead.

Moving on...

3.  All The Way Alive by The O. C. Supertones

And speaking of Christian ska bands from the 1990's....

All three of the big Christian ska bands of the era have now mounted comebacks within the past year and a half.  The Insyderz album has been out since the fall, the Supertones came out with theirs shortly after, and Five Iron is supposedly done recording theirs.  It's got to be tough for a band to come back after taking six, seven years off. Amazingly, both the offerings from the rudeboys of my youth have actually been the best records those groups have ever produced.

I've started playing this Supertones album in the car more often so that Isaac will start to enjoy it.  See, Isaac loves music, and when he hears a song he tries to learn it so that he can sing along.  He now knows a TON of Beatles songs, most of The Megas' catalog, and a few songs by Steam Powered Giraffe.  Oh, and a decent amount of House of Heroes as well. Now, he doesn't really know a lot of the words yet, but he can come pretty close to singing them.  So maybe I ought to be filling his mouth with words he ought to be singing instead of, say, a rock musical told from the perspective of Mega Man's mortal enemies.

Just a thought.

The Tones have always had a lot of "Whoa-oh-oh"s and "Oy! Oy! Oy!"s, so I figured Isaac would latch on pretty quickly.

Man, I wish I was in a band.  We'd occasionally open our shows with That Thing You Do and our first album would be called "Greatest Hits."  The second album would be "The Early Years."  Those aren't actually funny and probably wouldn't happen.  Though I'm not in a band, and I never will be, so it's irrelevant.

But it would be really funny to open a rock show with That Thing You Do, even if the kids in the crowd would have no idea where it came from.


4. Super Mario Bros. Theme by the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Can I say I'm actually sort of disappointed by this entire album?  It was on super-sale on one day, a collection of 21 video game themes played by the London Philharmonic, and yet very few of the arrangements really have any of the imagination that made some of these tunes so great in the first place.  I mean, I'm listening to this take on the most popular Nintendo tune of all time, and it really sounds just like you'd expect an orchestral version of the Mario song to sound.  There's no surprise, no magic, just pretty music.  Which isn't bad, of course.  But there are some really creative mixes and compositions of video game music out there done by people who really loved the source material.  This sounds like someone just cashing in on the popularity of video game nostalgia.

Though I guess not cashing in too much, since it was on sale super-cheap.

Also, a lot of the tracks on this collection are from contemporary games. What's the point of hearing an orchestral version of, say, Halo 4?  Halo 4 already has a full-orchestra soundtrack.  In fact, I think modern video game music is kind of boring (for the most part) because they've got so much most sophisticated technology.  Back before they had the capability for games to have movie scores, voice actors, and breathtaking animation, they had pixelated sprites and two-toned tunes to communicate everything you needed to know about the characters, world, and story.  And the tunes had to be good enough that you'd be willing to sit and listen to them on loop for hours at a time day after day after day.  Now, much of the original function of video game music has been taken by better graphics and animation and a full-fledged symphony orchestra.  Music is used more as it is in film--to set the mood.

Which, again, is fine.  But IMO, it makes older themes more interesting to listen to, especially when the genius of old-school NES and SNES composers is reinterpreted by artists with access to musicians and technologies that wasn't available to games at the time.

Or it may just be the nostalgia factor.

But no, the music was cooler back then.

Okay, one last spin of the wheel....

5. Silent Night by the 101 Strings Orchestra

When Kim and I first moved to Houston, we didn't have a lot of stuff.  (Now, we have a ton of stuff.  But that's for another day)  We didn't have a couch until Dave told us of a friend trying to get rid of a futon.  We didn't have a bed until a coworker of mine skipped town and had to get rid of her old bed.  We actually slept on a an air mattress for the first month or so of our marriage.  The entirety of our first apartment would probably fit into the living and dining area of our current apartment.

Ah, good times.

Anyway, we bought our first Christmas tree that year, and it was pretty small.  And we bought one Christmas CD.  Actually, it was a collection of three, and it was all instrumental.  It was five dollars at Wal-Mart.  If it had been much more than five bucks, we probably wouldn't have bought it because, oh yeah, we were also living on $900 a month for most of that first year.

Good times.

Anyway.  One of the best $5 purchases I have EVER made.  We basically had that CD and all the rock-and-roll Christmas albums I accumulated over my high school and college years.  So we listened to this one a LOT, because the others, well, they didn't all age well.  And each year, I try to add one new Christmas album to our collection.  Still, this is probably the one we listen to most often.  It's also the only one on my iTunes except for my buddy Blake's Christmas CD. And I imagine we'll still be putting it on for background music while we decorate for Christmas even after the boys have gone away to college.

Though I'm sure by that point, nobody will listen to CD's any more.

SLOW DOWN, TECHNOLOGY!  I'm an artist! I can't afford to keep up with you!!

Monday, January 14, 2013


Welcome back, Will.  It's nice to have you again.

Always a pleasure.

It's been a while since anybody's heard from you.  How are things going?

You know what?  Things are pretty good, I think.  It's been a good couple of weeks. Finished another script I was working on, that's always a good feeling.  Already talked to the director, and he likes it, so the rewriting probably won't be too difficult.  Of course, the NHL lockout is over.  Officially, now, as of late Saturday night.

Thank heaven.

I know, tell me about it.  So hockey season is starting up this weekend, which has got me in a good mood.  Plus, I'm in an opera right now.

You sing opera?

Ha!  No. But I can cross upstage and carry two suitcase into the inn while other people sing opera.  It's a talent of mine.  We're about to go into dress/tech rehearsals for that, and then it'll run through February 10th.  And the next day I start rehearsals for another touring show to schools.  Plus, I recently found out I'll be back with the Astros this summer.  So lots of good things lately.  Of course, there are some hiccups, too, but that's always the case, right?

Sure.  Now, I understand you've got something pretty exciting coming up quite soon...

Yes!  Of course, my first ever musical opens tomorrow night.  Kim and I are headed out that way as a date night thanks to the extremely gracious Hannah, who'll be watching the boys while we're out.

You want to tell us a little bit about the show?

Sure.  It's a new adaptation of Thumbelina.  Obviously, I didn't write the music, but the guy who did write it is way better at what he does than I am at what I do, so it's going to be a great show.  It's a one-act, but we had to cut a lot to make it close to an hour, so I may one day reconfigure the script so that I can try to sell both a one-act and a full-length version of the show.  Which would be great, because I had to cut a character I really liked just for the interest of time, so who knows?  He may live again in the full-length version one of these days. 

Now, isn't that kind of a girly story?

What? Thumbelina?  How so?

Well, isn't it about a princess who lives in flowers and wants to get married and all that jazz?

Well what if I told you there's a dragon in my version?

Really?  Sweet!

Yeah, no.  Not really.  And I don't think it's necessarily an overly-girly story.  I mean yeah, if you're a preteen boy, you're probably going to shy away from it, just because that's the way you are at that age.  Really, though, I think it's a story about a kid who, yes, is a girl, and she's trying to fit in and find her own identity in a lot of trying circumstances.  It's about being lonely, about looking for friendship, about fake friendships, about believing in yourself.  So I think everybody can relate to that.  Plus, the support characters in this show are going to be hilarious.  (Hopefully)  So I think anybody who can enjoy a good story, a good song, or a fun morning at the theatre will be able to appreciate the show.

Fair enough.  Hey, how about those kiddos?

You're right, that's what folks are most interested in, isn't it?  Sorry, sometimes I slip back into my old Xanga mindset where people would log on to my blog to read about me.  (Kidding, I promise)  The kids are a joy.  Robbie is reading pretty well now, even though there are times he doesn't want to because he claims it's hard.  It's not really hard for him, though, it just takes effort.  And he's not crazy on putting much effort into anything other than playing right now.  So we're working with him on that.  Really, though, he's doing so well in school.  He's also doing fairly well socially.  The other day, he saw some kids playing out in the courtyard outside our apartment, and he asked if he could go down there and play, so we let him.  Out he went, and he played all afternoon and made something like three new friends.  That was huge, because he's never done that sort of thing before.  He's always wanted to stay by Kim or I or just stay inside.  So that was cool.  Isaac is hilarious.  He loves music, he loves making crazy noises, he loves dinosaurs.  He uses some words that you can understand--actually quite a few if you've been around him enough--but he actually sings more clearly than he talks.  He loves Beatles music.  He'll be playing on the floor of the living room and suddenly he'll bust out in "Love Me Do" or "Eight Days a Week."  The favorite is probably "Yellow Submarine."  He and Robbie will actually sing that one together.  I need to try to get that on video, now that I think about it.

How about your 365 photo project?  You still have one picture to post, you know.

I do know that, actually.  I'm debating whether or not to bother with it.  By this point, whatever I post is going to be terribly anticlimactic.  I knew a while back what I wanted to do, but I needed my camera for it.  The iPhone wouldn't do.  So I lost my camera, and by the time I found it I was pretty far behind schedule to complete it, and then a LOT of time had passed.  And besides, I think I was down to something like 4 or 5 people who still cared about my 365 at that point.  So maybe I should post a slide asking if anybody still cares to see what my last picture would be, knowing that there's no way that it could live up to the 2-month buildup.  Or maybe I'll just take a different, more boring picture, just so I can say I finished it.  Even though, technically, I failed the intent of the project by not posting a picture every single day for 365 days.  Came close, though.  And for someone like me, who isn't very good at nor used to taking pictures, I think there's still something to be proud of there.

Well, I'm going to let you go, because it's getting late and you've got a big night tomorrow.  Any hints about the future?

Um...well, I think flying cars are a terrible idea.  Other than that, can't say.  God only knows, and lately I've been finding comfort in that rather than trepidation.  Anyway, maybe I'll do a ShuffleBlog next time.  People seem to like that. 

Right then.  Until next time, The Truth Fights Like a Panther!

........what was that?


That bit about panthers?

It's my tag line.  

You've got a tag line?

All the reputable news and interview programs end with a tag line.  

Okay.  And that's what you came up with?

Panthers are fierce.



Okay.  Goodnight.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Yes. This.

Over the years, I have taken a lot of people to their first hockey games.  (Or one of their first, or the first where they've been forced to pay attention)  And almost every one of them have made the same joke:

"I hope they do the Flying V!"

It is so funny.  Every time.

If you are not familiar with the V, then we're not friends.  No, I'm kidding, but you're probably not familiar with the Mighty Ducks movies, in which the maneuver is made to look like the most brilliant offensive formation in the history of hockey.

In fact, in D2, when the Team Iceland (Really?  Iceland?) disrupts the V, the film (and ultimately, the audience) treats it as the moment where you know the heroes are in serious trouble.  (Like Bane vs. Batman Round 1 in Dark Knight Rises, Morpheus getting captured in The Matrix, or the kid watching Lucas rock the power glove in The Wizard).  They broke up the Flying V, the audience thinks. These guys must be hardcore!

Inevitably, I usually end up explaining why the Flying V is actually a horrible, horrible idea, why it would never work in a million years.  However, I'm apparently terrible at explaining things, because I usually only get blank stares as replies.

Well, folks, here we have it: a Flying V (sort of) attempted in game.  While the team doesn't form a perfect V, they do gather behind the net and then mount a five-man attack, starting with the rear player carrying the puck and passing it back and forth in an attempt to confuse the opponent.  It even starts with the guy behind the net signaling "Flying V" behind the net. 

Behold as the whole thing unravels at the hands of a single forechecker.

I'm so glad this happened.  I've been watching this video a lot today.  

(Tip o' the hat to Puck Daddy)